Nebraska: The Good Life

Yesterday Nate and I decided to take a spur of the moment trip out west. Neither of us had seen Chimney Rock before and were itching to do some hiking but didn't plan it soon enough to head to Colorado. We did some research on Thursday night and planned our trip. We were going to stop at Chimney Rock near Bayard, then head to Scotts Bluff National Monument near Gering/Scottsbluff, and then head out to Wild Cat Hills which is about 8-10 miles south of Gering. Chimney Rock was neat, I love history...especially Nebraska history, so it was enjoyable to walk through the small museum and then actually see the rock that was so vital for settlers travelling via the Oregon Trail.

After seeing Chimney Rock we headed to Scotts Bluff National Monument. Man...it was gorgeous. It was hard to believe that this breathtaking view was in Nebraska. We drove to the top of the monument and then hiked a good majority of the way down and then back to the top. We would have liked to hiked the entire way up and down, but we had the dog with...Sampson doesn't like hiking. Next time we go we'll leave Sampson at home! We almost saw Rattle Snakes, too! We were on our way to another trail at SBNM when a family coming off the trail warned us that there were Rattle Snakes just a few yards from the trail head. I wanted to go take a photo of them, but Nate didn't think it was a good idea (he has the brains in the relationship while I bring the spontaneity!)

Finally we headed to Wild Cat Hills which are maintained by the Nebraska Game and Parks. This park was equally breathtaking. We tried to take Sampson on our first hike, but the trail was a bit difficult for him. In fact, he tried to jump off of a rock and biffed it pretty bad :) So we put him back in the car and hiked for about 3 miles on some pretty great trails. We did grab him out of the car to do a quick photo shoot!

All in all, it was a great trip...we spent an entire day being active together in God's beautiful creation, right in our own state. Nebraska really is a great place to live!

Basement Update

As many of you out there in blogger world know, we are in the process of finishing our basement. Over Christmas break the Nebesniaks came down and helped us frame the room. Over Memorial Day weekend all of Nate's immediate family came down to help us drywall. Tomorrow we have a few guys coming over to give us a bid on the mudding and taping :) We may get this basement finished by August!


Thoughts for the day

*When did teenagers stop looking like teenagers and start looking older than me? I watched an interview on the Today Show where the hosts were interviewing six teens ranging in age from 14-17 for their segment on teen sex. Every single one of them looked older than they were. Maybe that's why our teen sex rate is so high...

*I believe there is a direct correlation between exercise habits and eating habits. The more we exercise, the more we crave healthy, wholesome foods.

*Hulu.com is by far the greatest website (besides facebook and amazon). Nate and I watched episodes of "Glee" and "Lie To Me" on his laptop while lying in bed.

*Drywall dust never goes away...despite my careful efforts not to track dust all over the house, I found a large pile of drywall dust on our living room floor. I also found paw prints all over the love seat...

*Processed foods make me feel vommitacious (that word is still pending validity from Webster, please use with extreme caution).

*Our society does NOT know how to use apostrophes....and it drives me batty. I don't claim to be a grammarian (nor do I want to be), however when advertisements are noticeably grammatically incorrect, it hurts credibility.


Overcoming Temptation

It has been a whirlwind of a year. I have been struggling with something for quite awhile now and it has grown into quite the battle within the last 7 months or so. After a very frustrating weekend, I talked with my awesome husband about it. I spilled my guts and told him how frustrated I was because I simply am not at peace with this. I don't know if you've ever felt extreme discontent...it really sucks. As I explained to him how I felt, he listened and mentioned that I usually don't struggle with this unless I am surrounded by it. I thought for a minute about and realized that this was most certainly the case. On occasion I have felt uneasy when not around it, but for the most part Nate's insight lined up with my feelings. He kindly and lovingly stated that he thought it was similar to temptation. He gave me a story to illustrate his point. He said that when he isn't around junk-food he rarely desires it. However, when he is surrounded by it, it then becomes enticing and is a struggle to not consume it.

Now I know this is no novel idea (temptation), but sometimes it takes me a little longer to pick up on ideas. At times I can have a very one-tracked mind. So today I studied a few familiar verses on temptation that I hadn't studied in awhile. Here are the verses with a few insights:

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."1 Corinthians 10:13

These three small lines have so much power! This is such a comfort. At times I feel as though I am so alone; that I am the only person who is struggling with this. This verse also reminds me of one simple truth: God is faithful. No matter how many times I screw up and give into this temptation, if I come to Him with true repentance, then He will remain faithful. And I am finding that my escape from this temptation is prayer and the Word...I've tried talking with a few people about this and I really don't find much peace from it. It's nice to get it off my chest, but I don't feel peace until I come to God. This brings me into the next verse...

"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26: 41

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

My bible gave excellent feedback to this verse: Those who remain steadfast under testing will receive the crown of life, which refers not to life hereafter, but to life here and now, enjoyed more abundantly and in greater fullness.

This got me thinking: what would it be like to live more abundantly? I've always thought that I've lived life to its fullest...but now that I actually think about it I realize a somewhat terrifying truth...I have not.

And finally, an oft quoted verse...
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

I wish I was as smart as the theologians who composed the footnotes to my Bible, but alas, I am not :) Again, another footnote that is great for helping us to further understand these verses: When our Christian character goes through hardship, hope of receiving what God has promised grows stronger.

A friend told me once this year that what I must do in times of extreme trial is to remain hopeful. It is when we lose hope that we sink so far down. As hard as it is to stay hopeful and to keep all of these verses in mind, it is so necessary. God has NOT promised us a hardship-free life. But He has given us so many other promises to bank on (I know, I ended a sentence with a preposition...deal with it :).

So now that I've taken up most of your evening, go do something productive. Just kidding. I am continually amazed at the peace God can bring; how He can take someone who feels so broken and uneasy and make them whole again. I wonder how I ever made it 18 years without Him.


The Virtuous Wife

Last night and today I read Proverbs 31:10-31, which (in my Bible) is titled "The Virtuous Wife." I've read this before and have always said I wanted to be a Godly woman/wife, but have never really studied this passage before. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how I could be a better wife...Proverbs 31 has awesome instructions for this :) I studied it a bit and came up with 6 different traits that the wife in Proverbs 31 has:

The virtuous wife:

1. always strives to do good (v. 12)

2. is willing to work hard with a servant's heart (vv. 13-19)

3. reaches out to those in need (vv. 20-21)

4. takes pride in her household, yet maintains an air of humility (vv. 21-23)

5. is of good character...strong, honorable, wise, kind, watchful, respected by her husband and children, and does not partake in idleness (vv. 25-28)

6. fears the Lord (v. 30)

Nate is a great husband who is always willing to make sacrifices and do what is best for our little family, in fact, as I type this he is insulating our basement! So, this is my goal for the summer...to become more like the wife in Proverbs 31, to become more of the wife my husband deserves me to be. I'll leave you with this one last verse that is truly beautiful:

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).


A Psalm for Lunch

It is currently my lunch hour and I just finished eating a frozen meal...nutritious, I know. I didn't have the chance to read the Bible this morning before I left for work, so I read while eating. Lately I have been drawn to the Psalms and the wisdom and peace they offer. Today I read Psalm 16 and 17 and there were a few verses that really struck me. Actually, Psalm 16 in its entirety is beautiful:

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallend for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. for you will not abondon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." --Psalm 16

And now a few verses from Psalm 17:

"...I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress." --Psalm 17: 3

"Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, form men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life." -Psalm 17: 13-14

I enjoy reading the Psalms during the work-day...they are quick and insightful and have a way of putting a person at peace amidst a crazy day. Anyway, hope you enjoy them as much as I do :)

My little brother's all grown up...

My mom and brother after the ceremony
My brother and a few of his friends

Ditching the hats after the ceremony!

Diploma received: mission accomplished!

Waiting in line to get the diploma...

Walking into the gym...

My little brother, Nathan, graduated from high school yesterday...here are a variety of photos of him :) He is such a great kid...he is smart, witty, caring, and determined. I know he will succeed and go far in whatever he does! In August he will head off to Wayne State to pursue a degree in Conservation and Forestry Management (I believe that is what the degree area is :). Congrats, Nathan! We love you!!!


Mary Didn't Know...

That was the title of our pastor's sermon today...Mary Didn't Know. We read Luke 1:26-38 and 2:29-35 as well as Mark 3:20-21, 31-35 and looked at Mary and what she didn't know about being the mother of Jesus. There were things that the angel Gabriel revealed to her: you will bear a son, He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end, etc. etc. It wasn't until Mary and Joseph took their son to be circumcised that Simeon told Mary "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). Mary didn't know the rejection she and her son would go through.

Later on in Jesus' life, opposition was developing because he wasn't following the "script" of what was supposed to happen. In Mark 3 rumors started flying and people accused Jesus of being demon possessed. Our pastor explained that when Mary and His brothers sent for him in Mark 3:31-35, Mary was trying to take care of things like mothers do :) But Jesus, among a crowd, said "Who is My mother and My brothers? Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother." Now, He said this loud enough for Mary and His brothers to hear...and though He wasn't trying to disown His family (He was stating that spiritual relationships go beyond physical relationships), this was still one of those times where a sword pierced through Mary's soul, just like Simeon predicted. Our pastor went on to explain that the will of God takes some unwelcome and unpleasant turns and there will come a time (or times) when the will of God will not align with our will, but there is a reward for those who submit to the will of God.

This was one of those tough to hear sermons that I really needed. It's not that it was any new discovery, but it really spoke to me because this is something I have struggled with for the past 11 months now...it was eye opening and something I needed to hear.



So I just realized the about me section of the blog is messed up :) If you're wondering why it says that this is a blog created for the students of PCHS....it's because I created a blog for my juniors to discuss a novel we are reading and then linked it to my school web page. Apparently eBlogger won't let you have 2 separate about me sections on 2 separate blogs....anyway....if you want to check out the English 11 blog, feel free :)


Some Little Girl Turned 3....

Now I am usually not a fan of the color pink, but I think that is Denelle's favorite color (oh the sacrifices we make for little ones!). Our neice Denelle turned 3 yesterday! We couldn't be there to help her celebrate and we still haven't talked to her yet, but this is a shout out from us to her to say "Happy Birthday! And we love you!"

Today I interviewed for a teaching position at Ogallala High School and....they offered me the job :) So, a contract is in the making for next year! I will be teaching 4 sections of 9th grade English, 1 reading course, and possibly 1 section of 12th grade English. Nate and I will be co-workers :) God is good....

What We've Been Up To...a Photo Journey :)

So...I haven't been the greatest blogger lately :( So here's what we've been up to:
1. Nate's family came up for Easter to help us celebrate
2. We took the OHS choirs and bands to District Music Contest in Kearney...Jazz Choir and Chamber Chorale both received a 1+ rating (which is the best you can get!) and women's choir received a 2
3. Nate had his last high school concert a week ago...they rocked out to pop music and sang a great range from "Bridge Over Trouble Water" to "Bohemian Rhapsody." The new men's choir also made their debut :) And for the seniors, this was their last concert....

Upcoming events: OMS production of Annie Jr., PCHS and OHS graduation, and my little brother graduates from high school in a few weeks! Hope everyone is doing well! Enjoy the spring weather :)